I wrote this post a few days ago and I have since been going back and forth on whether or not to publish it. When I was making $1,800/month and living just fine I wanted to be proof that you don’t have to make a lot of money to live a happy life.
I know that a lot of you are in that position right now where you’re just barely scraping by like I was a couple years ago. While I have no intent of this post coming off as a “look at me now” type of thing (because even with our combined income we’re still far from “rich”) I just wasn’t sure how it’d come across to some of you.
Now that I’ve increased my income (through tons of hard work) and have gotten married I feel very grateful to be where I am. A lot has changed in my life over the past three years. In the sake of keeping things real and since I started this blog to chronicle my financial and entrepreneurial journey I decided to go ahead and publish this post.
I’ll be officially switching to a two person budget next month. And I’ve got to admit, that feels kind of nice. Luckily, Jamie and I are on the same page financially with a few minor exceptions.
So, I’ve been reviewing the numbers and here’s what everything comes out to.
Our New Monthly Budget
This was kind of tricky for me to lay out. Jamie works for the state department of transportation and therefore has some pretty good benefits. He contributes to two retirement accounts pre-tax and then also has health insurance, life insurance, union fees, charitable donations, and who-knows-what-else taken out of his check. That adds up to a pretty significant amount.
I decided to add the retirement and health insurance money to the budget so I can see the big picture of where everything is going. That makes this budget slightly wonky since I’m adding those pre-tax amounts to his post-tax take home pay. But hey, it’s still showing where our money will be going so it works for now. (And it doesn’t include any employer matches or employer paid benefits he gets.)
You’re going to see a huge difference between my old budget and this one. And while this budget is still a work in progress I’m just being completely realistic. I, for example, don’t care about food – he does. I don’t care about TV but he has to watch every show that ends with men. (You know Yukon Men, Swamp Men, Ax Men, and whatever other ones there are like that.) I also haven’t yet convinced him that prepaid is the way to go with cell phones.
There’s give and take in this budget for sure! And we’ll see how true these numbers are in the next few months.
Jamie Income: $2,634.80 (Doesn’t include over time which he gets a good bit of. He plows snow in the winter and inspects state construction jobs in the summer.)
Alexa Income: $3,000 (It is my goal to reach at least this amount every month after taxes. But this number could fluctuate highly. We’ll see.)
Estimated Total Take Home Pay: $5,634.80
- Mortgage: $630 (Actual payment is $439 including property tax and insurance. He always pays extra.)
- Car Insurance – $55
- Trash – $25
- Water – $100 (he has city water which is SO much more expensive than county water that I had)
- Gas (Heating) – $30
- Electricity – $170 (high end, winter months)
- Gas for Cars – $150
- Groceries – $800
- TV – $80
- Entertainment – $100
- Cell Phones -$175 (He has an expensive plan! Need to work on this one.)
- Internet – $55
- Credit Card (Recurring Donation Paid in Full Each Month) $45
- Health Insurance – $206 (This is with me and the girls added. Deductible is $1,500!)
- Jamie Spending Money – $200 (combination of hunting money and work lunches)
- Jamie Retirement # 1 (Pension) $305.86
- Jamie Retirement # 2 (457 Plan) – $200
- Alexa Retirement (Traditional IRA) – $120
- Miscellaneous – $170 (Because I feel like I’m missing something ?)
- Down Payment Savings – $2,017.94
Total – $5,634.80
I’m hoping I didn’t leave out a glaring expense. Does it look like anything is missing?
If we stick to this budget we’d be saving a total of $2,643.80 or 47% of our income. And maybe even more. I inflated a couple of these categories and used what I *think* will be our minimum incomes just for the sake of being cautious. (But being self employed the truth is my minimum could be much less or much more depending on the month.)
We also have combined savings of around $22,000 together across various savings accounts.
No Debt and the Same Mindset
Jamie and I have a pretty similar mindset when it comes to money – we both hate debt! In fact he is even more debt averse than I am.
Sure there are things on this budget that don’t particularly appeal to me like a high grocery bill, cell phone bill, and Dish Network. However, I am more than happy to make those compromises with him. Our overall financial goals and mindsets match up so well that I’m not going to pick him apart for wanting TV and buying food on the more expensive side. (Though my plan is to lower some of these expenses in a non-nagging sort of way.)
As you can see this is definitely NOT a bare bones budget. That means as my income rises (which it’s going to, darn it!) then we’ll be able to stash away even more money and still live very comfortably.
I’ll still be reporting only my income, spending, and saving for February since this budget won’t go into effect until next month.
In case you’re wondering my little brother is moving into the trailer. And no I’m not collecting rent. That’s a different story for a different day.
Creating Financial Goals Going Forward
I do still have the same financial goal of saving for a down payment and earning $60,000 for the year. I really want to buy a house by 2017.
Jamie does own his house but it’s near town and in the suburbs. While I do like the area for it being so close to town, I’m not the type of person who likes to walk out my backdoor and be surrounded by neighbors. And he’s really not either.
He’s a huge hunter so finding a house with land is appealing to him too and we’ll be working on this goal together.
Assuming that I can, in fact, earn $60,000 this year then we should really be saving more than $20,000. I’m going to give everything a couple months and then reassess the situation.
I’m also thinking that I should up my retirement contributions. I’m pretty competitive and I don’t like that he’s so far ahead of me. But maybe I shouldn’t look at it like that …… 🙂
I’ll give it a few months and see how everything pans out budget-wise.